After getting slapped with a $2.8 million copyright infringement penalty over ‘Dark Horse,’ Katy Perry is now battling to avoid years of interest penalties.
Attorneys for Christian rapper Flame are on the attack once again — with Katy Perry the juicy target. Back in August, Flame (aka Marcus Gray) shocked the music industry by securing a $2.789 million copyright infringement award against Perry. Now, Flame attorneys Michael Kahn (Capes Sokol), Eric Kayira (Kayira Law), and Daniel Blakey (Capes Sokol) are going for the jugular.
In arguments commencing December 27th, Kahn et. al. argued for a sizable interest payment on top of the already-massive $2.8 million jury verdict. Specifically, Flame’s legal team is demanding a compound annual interest rate of at least 1.75%, dated back to January 1st, 2015 at the latest.
“The rate of prejudgment interest should be no lower than 1.75 percent, and should be compounded,” the complaint argues.
That $2.789 million amounted to roughly 22.5% of total profits earned from “Dark Horse,” though interest-bearing instruments were never taken into account.
“Like most music copyright cases, Defendants principally argued that they did not copy Plaintiffs’ work,” Flame’s attorneys continued. “The jury disagreed. It would be unjust if Defendants could avoid the full measure of damages generally required under Ninth Circuit precedent simply because they chose to litigate all the way to trial rather than admit liability on the merits.”
That “Ninth Circuit precedent” was a nice discovery for Flame’s lawyers, who are now leveraging it to the hilt.
The decision, William Hablinski Architecture v. Amir Constr., Inc., not only ruled in favor of a pre-judgment interest surcharge, but also insisted on a compound interest calculation. So, instead of simply calculating 1.75% of $2.8 million, Flame is asking for a 1.75% calculation annually, dating back to 2015.
After all, Flame’s legal team argues that Perry, Capitol Records, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and other ‘Dark Horse’ collaborators had the luxury of letting their money grow — while Flame, a victim of copyright theft, was deprived of that ability. Accordingly, the argument goes, if Flame isn’t properly compensated on the interest riches, then other victims will surely get bilked in the future.
“If a defendant wrongfully obtains $3 million and deposits the money in a savings account with 1.5 percent interest, after five years, that defendant will have earned $233,501 in interest,” Kahn et. al. continued. “If required only to disgorge the principal $3 million, the misconduct has been rendered lucrative—and similar misconduct is thus encouraged. A complete remedy serves a future deterrent purpose, regardless of the infringing party’s mental state.”
In the case of ‘Dark Horse,’ a 1.75% compound interest calculation dating back to 2015 would amount to more than $250,000. Just recently, Flame submitted a $20,000 invoice for various court costs related to the ‘Dark Horse’ case.
Separately, Perry’s attorneys led by Christine Lepera of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp are busy preparing an appeal in 2020. For now, Lepera and associates like Vincent Chieffo of Greenberg Traurig are battling against a rising bill — which could end up clearing $3 million.
More as this develops.